Assigning materials to entities is a very very important part of our job.
I dont think that anyone will dissagre on that.
The main problem with archicad and materials is that the proccess is not optimised , and if you dont know what materials your objects will have then you are in big trouble.
I have tried the generic approach , that is create generic materials like
1) Exterior wall 1
2) Exterior wall 2
3) Exterior trim window 1
4) Exterior trim window 2.... and so on
The advantage with this approach is that if you export you model to an external render by material, you can easily apply materials from their material library.
The problem is, that this way i end up having tooo many materials and hard to remember what was supposed to be what.
Ofcourse to have a rendering inside archicad with this approach is out of the question cause i will have to MANUALLY change every instance of the material ( we dont even have an eyedropper for materials to transfer properties from one material to another.
The other appoach, creating real materials, is hard if you have to test and make changes. Then it would be a nightmare.
For example if i a chromium material, it could be assigned to many many objects in the structure, so filtering which ones should be changed is very difficult, when with the other solution would be 1 sec work.
I wish i could have a very very good material editor- organizer.
For example, i could have a SEPERATE list of REAL materials (think of it as a folder-tree structure) and if i want to set generic material 1 to lets say chromium i would just drag and drop in at the chromium forlder material.
I think ti would be very easy to implement it and it would be a real time saver.
What do you think?
How do you work with materials?
I always thought this sounded like the optimum solution but decided against if for the exact reasons you stated: there's not way to transfer settings from one material definition to another.
To really make it work, you would almost need to classify materials as "used materials" and "available materials", with some way to link them together, almost the way a material can have a crosshatch assigned to it.
I have long argued that there needs to be a distinction between the specification and the application of materials.
We should have libraries of materials by specification, such as paint, tile, stucco, etc., which are available to all projects and can be loaded like object libraries. The project material settings would then be by application, such as 1st floor siding, main hall walls, bathroom floors, etc. Materials from the libraries would then be applied to the particular applications within the project.
The advantages are so numerous I won't go into it here.
For more on the subject you can see my wish topic about it here...